Why would Jesus say that people were told to hate their enemies?

The Old Testament clearly teaches the people to Love Their Enemies, so where did this teaching come from, that Jesus is refuting?

Exodus 23:4-5
“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it."

Matthew 5:43 - 48

ESV - 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Clarify Share Report Asked February 18 2021 Mini Grant Abbott

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to love their neighbors as themselves. However, this apparently extended only to fellow Israelites, since God, at the same time, commanded the Israelites on numerous occasions to completely destroy various pagan peoples or nations who had actively opposed or fought against the Israelites, or who would draw the Israelites away from God if left alive to dwell among them. So those peoples or nations were apparently not to be regarded as "neighbors" in the sense of the commandment to Israel, but instead as enemies, and, in fact, were to be hated by the Israelites.

In the New Testament, Jesus instructed His followers in the Sermon on the Mount to love their enemies, just as God showed mercy to both the just and unjust. He also expanded on the meaning of this commandment through the parable of the good Samaritan (which He told in specific response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?") to include not only personal friends, or even fellow Israelites, but even people whom we would regard (or who would commonly regard us) as enemies (as the Israelites and the Samaritans generally viewed each other).

February 19 2021 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ralph Lucas
I believe Christ was refuting added laws/ traditions of men. God is never changing. If he said something in the beginning he is still standing on that word for it never returns to him void. He said love your neighbor in OT as well as in NT. OT even speaks on Israel being commanded to show love towards the stranger & foreigner (exodus 23:5, Leviticus 19:17, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19, Deuteronomy 23:7, Deuteronomy 27:19, proverbs 24:17). Remember when Israel came out of Egypt a multitude came out with them. 

This multitude also went into the wilderness and promised land with them. This multitude accepted Israel’s God as there God though they weren’t native born. A picture of the Ruth and Naomi situation in the book of Ruth. So I’m saying that Christ couldn’t have been refuting anything from the OT for it was never written there to hate your enemies. Christ was refuting something that had sprang up around his time or a little before his time but not from the beginning. 

Remember in scripture Christ said that others preferred to hold on to their traditions and not the commandments of God (Matthew 15:1-6, Matthew 16:6-12, mark 7:7-13, Colossians 2:8) Around his time Jewish traditions were being added to the law such as the Talmud and other man-made doctrine taught as God’s divine law. 

Even the zealots which were a political movement in 1st-century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War said that they should love their fellow jew but hate Rome. The Dead Sea community in Qumran went even further. They taught their followers to “love all the sons of light … and hate all the sons of darkness,” understanding the sons of light as members of their own sect and sons of darkness to be other Jews outside of their sect. 

Christ was speaking against the traditions of men and calling people back to the commands of God in this particular comment he stated.

May 30 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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